الرموز صعبة: Theranos الاحتيال تعقد الدروس القاسية للتشفير

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مارك Hochstein هو مدير تحرير CoinDesk.

المقالة التالية ظهرت أصلا في CoinDesk أسبوعي, سلمت رسالة إخبارية، برعاية مخصصة كل يوم حصريا لمشتركينا.


Innovators who seek to revolutionize and disrupt an industry must tell investors the truth about what their technology can do today, not just what they hope it might do someday.

That quote, from the director of the SEC’s San Francisco office, Jina Choi, referred to Theranos, the blood-test company and one-time Silicon Valley darling that the agency charged with fraud last week.

But you could be forgiven for thinking it was about the cryptocurrency space, given the frenzied fundraising through عروض عملة الأولية (الأعلام) for projects with little more than grand visions, a buggy prototype, zero users and plenty of speculators betting it can work.

لكى تتأكد, a cryptocurrency is not equity in a business (على الأقل, it’s not supposed to be), and an open-source project is not the same thing as a company. But the Theranos case, in which founder and CEO Elizabeth Holmes paid a $500,000 fine and was barred from serving as a public company executive or director for 10 سنوات, offers several sobering lessons for the blockchain community.

Some of them may seem obvious, but they bear repeating. The first two apply to investors:

DYOR

For those who don’t spend their days on crypto Twitter, that stands fordo your own research.

You know how Google Ventures figured out it didn’t want to invest in Theranos? ووفقا ل investigative article published in Vanity Fair in 2016, Google’s venture capital arm sent one of its associates to Walgreens, the pharmacy chain that had a partnership with the startup.

Supposedly, ال “wellness centersTheranos had set up in the stores were showcasing the company’s technology, which it claimed could test for hundreds of diseases just by taking a tiny bit of blood from the fingertip. لكن, according to Nick Bilton’s expose, “as the VC sat in a chair and had several large vials of blood drawn from his arm, far more than a pinprick, it became apparent that something was amiss with Theranos’s promise.

It would later turn out that Theranos was using its vaunted Edison machine in only a sliver of the tests it sold to consumers.

What’s the crypto equivalent ofjust go down to Walgreens and see what’s up?” حسنا, if a blockchain network is up and running, you can start by buying a tiny amount of a coin, downloading the software and playing around with it to see if the thing works as advertised.

That’s how I figured out bitcoin was legit early on, and if the cryptocurrency you’re looking at is anything like bitcoin, you won’t have to buy a whole unit (and if you do, well that’s a red flag right there). Better to blow $50 on initial due diligence than $10,000 on someone’s assurances.

ومع ذلك, thattry it yourselfapproach may not be sufficient if, قل, the network is running on a small number of nodes manually controlled by the development team, with a promise to eventually take off the training wheels. And for a token sale that’s funding a yet-to-be-built blockchain, one that theoretically could do awesome things in the futurewell, the homework is going to be a lot more involved.

Ignore charisma

HolmesSteve Jobs-style turtlenecks, Stanford-dropout backstory and change-the-world rhetoric made for great magazine copy. And like her idol Jobs, Holmes was reportedly secretive and imperious, largely forbidding even Theranos employees from communicating with each other about their activities.

Unlike the iPhone or the Mac, ومع ذلك, Theranosdevices didn’t work the way Holmes led investors and patients to believe.

You would think that in cryptocurrency, a field whose own founder (or founders) remain unknown and where decentralization is one of the highest ideals, cults of personality wouldn’t be much of an issue. But then there was جوش غارزا. So don’t pin your investment decisions on a single charismatic individual.

بالتاكيد, just because someone is charming doesn’t mean they’re a fraud, either. It just has little relevance to the merit of the project. Until some future time when we’re all disembodied brains, we have to learn to discount these superficial distractions.

(On a related note, ignoregravitas.Theranosboard included two former secretaries of state, a former secretary of defense, a retired Marine general and two former senators. Lots of gravitas. Not a whole lot of medical expertise, على أية حال. It was perhaps a more highbrow version of the celebrity-endorsed ICO phenomenon.)

The other two takeaways from this affair apply to token issuers, entrepreneurs and developers seeking to raise money in this space. And they may be even harder pills to swallow, as it were:

Tough tokens

Many may find it unfair that Holmes paid only a six-figure fine considering the size of the fraud ($700 مليون), especially in light of the harsh treatments given over the years to some crypto entrepreneurs who operated in good faith, simply because they did not ask for regulatorspermission.

(Holmes did not admit or deny wrongdoing in the settlement agreement; according to the Wall Street Journal, ا criminal investigation of Theranos is still ongoing.)

And it may well be unjust. But it shows the advantages of working within the system rather than outside it. Theranos paid millions for high-powered lawyers well before the government started investigating the company.

Even as a sham enterprise, it had resources to defend itself.

You pay for things one way or the other, upfront or down the line,” said Joe Colangelo, a New Jersey entrepreneur and longtime bitcoin enthusiast.

The wheels of justice turn slowly

Coming nearly three years after cracks started to show in Theranosfacade, the SEC charges show that enforcement actions can take time. Just because the government hasn’t gone after someone for possible violations doesn’t mean it won’t.

Whatever statute of limitations you think exists, it does not,” Colangelo said. “They will catch up to you eventually.

Teams who thought they coulddo an ICO really fastbecause there wereso many they can’t possibly punish all of uswere mistaken, هو قال.

You might be getting charged with crimes associated with your ICO in 2023,Colangelo added. “You have to be ready to spend the next five years thinking about this.

Ouch. That smarts worse than a needle in the arm.

Elizabeth Holmes صورة عبر شترستوك

الرائدة في مجال أخبار blockchain, CoinDesk هو الوسيلة الإعلامية التي تسعى جاهدة للحصول على أعلى المعايير الصحفية وتلتزم بها مجموعة صارمة من سياسات التحرير. CoinDesk غير تابعة التشغيل مستقلة عن المجموعة العملات الرقمية, التي تستثمر في cryptocurrencies وتبدأ blockchain.

HTTPS://www.coindesk.com/tough-tokens-theranos-fraud-holds-harsh-lessons-crypto/

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